I try to keep pesto in my fridge at all times. There is nothing like a spoonful of oily, creamy basil goodness to spice up any dish — from pasta to salad dressings to eggs to soups and broths, I use it a lot. And, while some store-bought brands are pretty good, nothing quite beats the taste of your own fresh pesto.
Making pesto sounds very complicated and time consuming, but you can get through this recipe in less than 30 minutes. Prep is minimal and with fresh, local ingredients, you know that what you’re creating in your kitchen is the best of the best!
I used walnuts in this pesto recipe because I can’t afford to drop lots of money on pine nuts. However, if you are in a position to do so, pine nuts are traditionally used in pesto and have an exquisite flavour! Not that walnuts make a bad substitute at all. It’s your choice!
Fresh Walnut Pesto
3 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh walnuts or pine nuts
1-2 cloves garlic
1. Wash your basil leaves carefully. I like to put all my basil in a bowl filled with water — this allows tiny particles of dirt to float to the bottom. Then, I take the leaves out of the bowl and rinse them in a strainer before using.
2. Peel the garlic and cut into halves. Place in a food processor with a generous amount of olive oil and about 1/3 of your basil. Process on high until blended, then add about half the nuts and another 1/3 of the basil leaves. Process again until well blended. Repeat this until all ingredients are used. Add more olive oil if necessary — if the basil and/or nuts are getting stuck and not getting chopped, this means you need more oil to facilitate the blending.
3. Once your pesto has reached the desired consistency, use immediately or spoon into ice cube trays and freeze for 4-6 hours. Transfer to ziplock bags and use whenever!